“Radio is the foundation of EKB,” reads the website for East Kentucky Broadcasting. “Since 1949, our company has led the local industry in broadcasting and continues to dominate the local market.”
Seventy years later, this company is ready to say goodbye to its stations — just five months after the passing of its President/CEO.
On the evening of November 1, 2018, Walter E. May passed away at the age of 81.
May has a rich broadcasting career, and was hired at the age of 16 as the first rock ‘n’ roll DJ at WPKE-AM in Pikeville, Ky., a station that would later serve as the foundation for May-owned EKB. The opportunity came after the death of Jack Hatcher, with May taking one-third ownership and the GM position for EKB. By 1965, May had majority interest in EKB.
A second station, today’s WDHR-FM in Pikeville, Ky., was purchased in 1966.
By the time of his death, EKB — under licensees East Kentucky Broadcasting Corp. and East Kentucky Radio Network — was home to nine full-power stations and five FM translators.
Now, all are being transferred from the licensees, with real estate being transferred from May’s estate, to Mountain Top Media LLC.
Mountain Top is already in control of the stations via a Time Brokerage Agreement.
The properties being transferred to Mountain Top are as follows:
- WLSI-AM, WPKE-AM, WDHR-FM, W251AI and W240CL in Pikeville, Kentucky
- WPKE-FM in Coal Run, Kentucky
- WEKB-AM and W282BZ in Elkhorn City, Kentucky
- WPRT-AM & W283AP in Prestonsburg, Kentucky
- WZLK-FM in Virgie, Kentucky
- WBTH-AM & WXCC-FM and W273BC in Williamson, West Virginia
The group is being sold for $2.85 million.
A $200,000 escrow deposit is being held by Kipley J. McNally LLC.
Mountain Top Media is a locally based operation led by M. Lynn Parish.
Parish, 69, founded Knott Floyd Land Co. and Coal-Mac LLC and he is currently President of Marwood Land Co.
He takes on a legacy that saw May serves as president of the Kentucky Broadcasters Association in 1971, and chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in 1975. He was the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Golden Mic Award.
May is survived by his children, Cindy May Johnson, Melody May P’Pool, Christy May Adkins, and Walt May II, along with his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a host of loving family and friends.
At the time of his passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, “The Pikeville community lost one of its towering figures with the passing of Walter May. When he began his first broadcast as a rock and roll DJ more than 60 years ago, I doubt anyone could have predicted his lasting impact. Through his nationally acclaimed radio career, his term as mayor, and his guidance of the Pikeville Medical Center, Walter established an enduring legacy of excellence and service. Elaine and I join those who loved Walter as we honor his decades of transformational leadership and express our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”